Sunday Morning Coffee: Progress!

My back is good.

I’m making progress with my hurting foot, which is feeling better by far than it did a week ago. Still sore, but bearable.

So it looks like church is on the schedule today, for the first time in more weeks than I can remember. Yesterday, when Terry asked me about it, I said. “Yes! I think I can actually do it!”

The hard part was rolling out of bed at 6 a.m. I’m not used to that any more. Lazy as a slug.
So, you may ask, what have I learned during all these weeks of practically no mobility?

Well, I’ve learned once again to be thankful for a husband who is willing to step in when I can’t take care of housework, shopping, cooking, laundry. And it’s a big deal, because he has his own pain to deal with.

I’ve learned that no one is indispensable. Not even me. Most of us know we’ll die eventually, but I don’t know if it’s truly a reality. Not that I’m dying, at least not as far as I know 🙂 But the truth is, life goes on all around us, without us, in spite of our invaluable contributions to everyone else’s happiness and well-being. Seriously, life is just a vapor, gone in a moment of God’s economy. It’s a much bigger deal to us than it is to anyone else, really, how long we stay around. The point is to make sure that while we’re here we’re doing what He has given us, enabled us, to do. To touch someone else’s heart and life.

For me, that has been what I can do with my hands because my back and my feet didn’t work very well. So I work with my hands, making mats and hats for the homeless. I work with my brain and my hands, doing my Bible study blog and learning something new every day. I’m reading things I’d been hoping to finish “someday.” I’m even cleaning up and organizing my bookshelves, doing away with some books I’ve had for years and not managed to crack the covers. Some are leftovers from my schooling, and from counseling seminars. I will not read those books now. I didn’t read them back then. I shouldn’t have purchased them, but I thought I would read them. Well, I for sure won’t read them now 🙂

I’ve cleaned out drawers, something I can do sitting down. I’ve gone through all sorts of stuff that I just didn’t have the time to deal with. It’s surprising, really, what you can find to do when you can’t do it with you feet or your back.

I’ve prayed more. I keep a list, because my memory is short and the list keeps growing. Sometimes I will say to someone, “Yes, I will pray for you.” But if I don’t write it down, I will forget. I don’t want to forget, so the list grows.

I’ve enjoyed studying things about the Bible that I’d always wondered about, but never taken the time to research. Right now, I’m doing the book of Hosea. I’m learning all sorts of things about the history, the idolatry, the Assyrians and other nations. A lot of it doesn’t make the blog post, but that’s okay. I’ve always loved learning stuff I didn’t know. Not about math, or chemistry. But most other stuff 🙂

Well, I guess I’m done for now. I’m looking forward to church, to seeing folks who have prayed for me, sent me notes and cards. Looking forward to the music and the preaching. I love church.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Follow the Pattern

I’m learning a crochet stitch that is new to me, after 64 years of crocheting all sorts of things. It’s called c2c, or “corner to corner.” Here’s what it looks like after four rows:

3 row corner to corner crochet stitch

You just keep adding those little units until you have the piece as wide as you want it, and then you begin to decrease to make the final corner, if you’re making something square. You can use this to make all sorts of things. Right now, I’m working on a baby blanket:

No photo description available.
It’s very easy, once you learn it. I, however, had a few interruptions and kept having to go back, rip out, and do it again until I understood it. Once I got it, this little corner worked up quickly.

And of course, as I was working, my mind was building an object lesson. It’s what you do when you’re a teacher. My friend Karyl Entner is a wizard when it comes to object lessons 🙂

If we want our lives to come together in a beautiful pattern, we have to learn to follow the directions. This piece that I’m working on is going to be all one color, but for most of us our lives will be a combination of many different colors, and perhaps textures as well, sort of like a crazy quilt. The trick is to put all the pieces together in a way in which they all fit naturally. When I finish this, I’ll use the same yarn to create a lacy border.

So, what are the directions we need to follow? Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 says,

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

God is the source of direction for our lives. His Word is the treasury of wisdom that we can never exhaust, no matter how old we grow or how many times we read it from cover to cover.

Micah 6:8 says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Notice that the word is justly, an adverb, meaning in a fair way and a righteous way. Some translations have used the word justice, which is a noun, and refers to something else entirely. We are to behave justly; we are, at the same time, to love mercy; and we are to walk humbly with God.

There’s a lot more, especially in books like Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians, and Proverbs. We are given principles on which to form our lives. The Bible won’t give you a specific answer for every single decision or action you are choosing. It does, however, outline learning to walk with God in a way that helps us approach each decision with His plan in mind.

One of my grandmothers was a young wife and mother when my grandfather moved her and two of their children out to a dugout in the Utah desert. There are some wonderful stories my dad used to tell from those years. Grandma didn’t have much to read, but she did have a family Bible. She read it until she understood that she needed to confess her sin to the Lord, seek His forgiveness, and accept Him as her Lord and Savior. She went on to have six children, one of whom she lost to appendicitis because they were so far away from any help. She was quite an amazing woman. She lived her life as much according to the Pattern Book as she could, and her testimony was what eventually led my dad to become a preacher. Because of her, my dad’s siblings all came to the Lord; all my dad’s children are believers; and all my grandchildren, as well. Five generations of believers !I don’t have any great-grands yet, but I pray that the trend continues!

It’s important to learn the pattern; to follow the directions, and to persevere until the piece is finished. If I never add another row to my work, it will be useless.

I don’t want my life to be useless. I want to finish well, complete the pattern, and go to meet Jesus to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Sunday Morning Coffee: Let’s Laugh!

Sometimes we need to quit thinking about everything there is to think about and just laugh! There are so many heavy, worrisome problems that drag us down. I won’t make a list, because that would defeat my purpose this morning. I want to have the joy of the Lord! I want Him to fill my mouth with laughter. I want to deliberately let go of all the serious, grow-up stuff and just relax and laugh. Nothing clears the fog with a good belly laugh.

So here’s for you to enjoy:

Then there’s George Younce and J.D. Sumner:

One more: Mark Lowry and Jake Hess.

I could go on for a long time, but I think I’ll stop here. Enjoy the clips. Enjoy being in church this morning. Enjoy the message, the music, and the fellowship. Enjoy each other. Don’t forget that no matter what else is going on, Proverbs 21:1 tells us that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.”

Sunday Morning Coffee: Church!

I’m going to church today! I’m so pleased that I can finally, after missing at least five Sundays, look forward to being in the services this morning.

I got the injections I needed on Thursday. It’s not perfect, but it’s SO much better. There’s still some foot pain, but the doctor said it would take longer for that to settle down.

So, some people may wonder what on earth is so exciting about church?

I’ll tell you: Being with other like-minded believers; enjoying the music; hearing good Bible preaching; fellowship before and after; feeling at home!

Do you understand what a privilege it is to be able to attend the church we choose, rather than whatever the government dictates? Do you realize that we don’t have to hide, holding meetings in secret, fearing at every moment that we’ll be discovered? Are you aware that these are freedoms we could easily lose? If your answers are “Yes!” to all of the above, then please join me in prayer that we will see repentance, revival, and the power of the Holy Spirit once again sweeping over our land and around the world.

Please pray for Americans and others who are deserted, stranded in Afghanistan, losing hope as each day passes. Christians are already being targeted for death. The chances of being rescued seem less likely with every passing hour.

Please pray for the families who lost sons, brothers, and boyfriends in the bombing attack last week at the Kabul airport. It’s going to happen again. There is no fear of America at this point. Human life is not held dear in a country where God is ignored, and that human life includes the lives of their own people.

Satan is busy here in America, too. Babies are sacrificed by the millions every year. Even here, human life is not valued.

The next attack that happens on our own soil will send people back to church in droves, just as it did after 9/11. It’s too bad that it takes something so horrifying to make people seek God for a few weeks, and then go right back to the way they lived before the towers fell.

Go to church; find a church where the Bible is the foundation of belief and practice, and pay attention to the preaching and teaching.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118:24.

“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.'” Psalm 122:1.

Sunday Morning Coffee: What a Week

If you’ve ever had to use Prednisone, you could write this post yourself. You have my total sympathy.

If you’ve never had to take it, count your blessings. It is used as an anti-inflammatory, among other things, and does its job well in that regard. But the side effects? Oy.

This has been me for the last 4-5 nights. Last night I slept for three hours, and I’ve been awake since 2 a.m. Had a melt-down this morning just from lack of sleep. I’m not given to melt-downs. They’re no fun, and they don’t help. One. More. Day.

So why take the stuff? Because it DOES help swelling and inflammation that make it difficult to treat certain conditions. Next week, we’ll make a decision about another spinal steroid shot, which really couldn’t be made without a good visual, i.e. xray or MRI. Inflammation had to be reduced first. And the pain IS better.

There are many other side effects of Prednisone, which a good doctor always points out before prescribing the stuff. Some people can’t stop eating, and gain a lot of weight. Others get headaches. It’s a long list. For me, the wired-up feeling, shaky hands, emotions out of whack, and sleeplessness are the worst. I’ll have some of the same reactions from the steroid injection, but they will pass quickly. And the extended pain relief is worth it.

I like to think of Prednisone as the medical counterpart to good Bible preaching that gets under our guard and convicts us of sin. It’s uncomfortable. We don’t enjoy it. We want it to go away so our comfort zone isn’t invaded and we don’t have to DO anything to regain our spiritual composure.

Without it, though, it’s often hard for us to see the cause of our sin because of the swelling of pride and SELF that obfuscates the real problem–pride, anger, worldly lust–that’s a very long list, too. It’s only when we swallow the medicine and allow it to do its work in our hearts that we can see clearly and deal with our sin through confession and repentance.

This hasn’t been a fun week, but there have been some bright spots in the form of caring friends who have stopped in, called, messaged on Facebook, and so on.

And of course, there’s music.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Shorter Days Already!

I glanced at my watch 20 minutes ago, surprised to see that it was already dusk outside. It was a quarter to nine and now, at 9:05, it’s dark. Well, we ARE at the halfway mark in July, but still, it seems that the days are shortening way sooner than they should.

Do you remember, if you grew up in a city or a smaller town neighborhood, how we milked these long summer days? After supper was the time for lots of hide and seek, and other games we could play in the street because there wasn’t much traffic. The heat of the day had relented somewhat, although it could still be overwhelming with humidity if there was no breeze. Back then, the mosquitos were relentless. No one was spraying whole neighborhoods 65 years ago, and we all had a bumper crop of mosquito bites in spite of whatever bug deterrent we used. It was just part of life.

Sometimes we played army until it was too dark to see each other. We were children of WWII parents, and we knew all kinds of things that gave us plenty of room to imagine scenarios. We spied, we hid, we sneaked up on each other. Then, the street lights would go on, and we knew we had to go in soon.

Now and then, if we didn’t get home as soon as they wanted us to, one or the other of our parents would call our names. We didn’t waste any time at that point. We knew we’d better get home fast!

One of these days, Jesus is going to call us home. We won’t get a warning. It will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and our time on earth will come to an end. Those who do not know Jesus Christ will remain, and I would love to know how the talking heads are going to explain away the instant disappearance of millions all around the world.

And all this brings to mind a song that’s really an oldie, and that I didn’t much care for when I was younger. But it has more meaning as I grow older, and so I’m going to offer it to you here. I hope you’ll consider the words as they apply to believers.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Where did the Week Go!

I can’t believe tomorrow is Sunday already. This week literally disappeared!

So I’ve been thinking over my week, the highs and not-so-high, the good and not-so-good.

What I discovered, on balance is that the good far outweighed the not-so-good. .

I finished a sleeping mat that had been waiting. I needed blue bags, and got a lot of them on Sunday. People leave used plastic bags in a collection bin, and it was a bonanza last Sunday! Here’s the one I finished early this past week:

May be an image of crochet and indoor

These mats are given out to homeless people, who get the gospel along with the mats. I’m about halfway on my next one, which looks very Christmasy.

Doing these mats us a blessing to me because it’s something I can do that doesn’t hurt my back, and that I know will be a blessing to whoever gets them.

What else? Well, let’s see. I have a date with a dear friend on Monday. Haven’t seen her in too many months, so I’m looking forward to that.

Lots of birthday greetings this past week, always so much fun to hear from people I may not communicate with much until my birthday rolls around.

I know there are problems with social media, I get it. But it has reconnected me with people I hadn’t been in touch with since I was 14 or so; I have reconnected with high school and college friends as well. And of course I can use FB to publicize my blog, which I’ve been writing since 2008, I think.

What else. Oh, some things I had ordered and that took nearly a month to get here came this past week, and I’m happy with all of my purchases. I don’t like having to return things, so I’m pleased about that.

Terry and I took Tuesday off (we’re both retired, so “taking the day off” means we didn’t do work around the house). and drove down to Peace Valley Park. I was hoping the little lavender farm would still be in full bloom, but it was too late. Not much was left. Earlier in June is a better time to go. But it was good to just leave “normal” at home, relax, and enjoy the beauty of lower Bucks County. We’ll try again next year, and maybe take a picnic to enjoy by the lake. We stopped for a sandwich on the way home, also a treat. We rarely eat out.

A special friend stopped by earlier today. She’s been through the valley of despair and come out on the other side, stronger and more content than she’s ever been. I got to help her on that journey.

Oh, I almost forgot. Terry’s been working on our bathroom door all week, getting down to the bare wood through several layers of paint. He’s sanded and prepped and painted, and now we have a door on that bathroom again :). It looks really good.

It’s good for me to look at my week in review, to major on the positive and not the negative, to be thankful for all that God has so liberally given us to enjoy. When I see how beautiful this groaning old world is, I wonder how heaven will amaze and delight us with beauty we cannot even begin to imagine!

And now I need to go to bed. We have children’s church tomorrow, and I’m going to need an extra shot of energy 🙂

Sunday Morning Coffee: A Godly Husband

Once, I told him he was being a helicopter husband. That he needed to let me make my own decision and accept my own consequences.

I really was born on the Fourth of July. It’s totally appropriate for me to have been born on Independence Day.

The truth is, what I have is a godly husband.

He’s watched me struggle with a great deal of pain over the last four or five years. Even before my back went wonky, he watched me deal with two knee replacement surgeries, and that’s just the big stuff.

He has never complained when I’m having a lot of pain. He just moves in and takes over jobs that he knows are hard for me when the pain is waging an all-out attack. He does laundry. He cleans. He shops, cooks, and takes care of the dishwasher. He’s never been afraid to change a smelly diaper on any of our four kids if I was sick, and even when I wasn’t.

It is not in my nature to be fussed over. I do better when I’m left alone with my misery. So is he. When he’s sick, he doesn’t want me to do a single thing for him, but he has a hard time leaving me on my own.

He took me by surprise a couple of hours ago when he said he wants me to wait another week before I go to church. I questioned that, and I suppose he’s right. I’m better, but he sees me walking and says I’m not ready yet. It’s a 40-minute drive, then sitting from 9:45 until 11:30 or so, and then the drive back home. He says my walk makes it clear to him that I’m still favoring the place where the pain hit, and he just thinks it’s too soon for me to try to take it to church.

I will admit that my initial reaction wasn’t very thankful. I got over that fairly quickly, though, and had a little talk with Jesus about helping me to be thankful for a husband who takes such good care of me, in spite of his own chronic pain.

He absolutely does treat me as Christ treats His bride. I know without doubt that he would lay down his life for me. Sometimes I get annoyed and push against his tendency to protect me, but you know what? That’s just stupid of me! Stupid, and not godly, not virtuous, not appreciative of a man who takes such good care of me. He cherishes me, as it says in Ephesians 5, as he does his own flesh. I have taught women, many times, that when a man treats you like that, it’s very easy to accept his God-given authority as the head of your home.

So there is my sermon to myself on this Sunday morning. If you have a husband who takes care of you, and you have an independent nature, ask God to show you the treasure you have.

Don’t take it lightly.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Humor

A few days ago, I was stripping my bed to wash the sheets. My habit is to get the sheets loose, then put any other laundry in the middle, and bundle it all up like Santa’s bag of presents. All went well until I twisted the corners together and hoisted it up over my shoulder.

Well, I TRIED to hoist it. Couldn’t get it off the bed. Totally confused, I decided to open it back up. Aha. I have a weighted blanket that weighs at leas 25 pounds. Forgot to take it off the bed. I’m old, dearie, and ever so weak and fragile. Slinging 25+ pounds over my shoulder was not a great idea 🙂

Another morning last week, I was getting my breakfast. I use a French press for my coffee. First I grind the beans that my grandson roasts for me, then dump the grounds into my press, pour boiling water over the grounds, put the cover on and let it brew.

Only this time I poured the whole beans into the press, then stood there for several seconds trying to figure out what to do next. I did figure it out, but I sure felt silly.

Years ago, I was getting ready for work, putting on my makeup. Grabbed my tube of under-eye bag concealer and swiped it on–only it was lipstick. Bright red. Sigh.

I actually did go to work one morning with a blue shoe on one foot and a grey one on the other. Didn’t notice it until my first client pointed it out to me. We both had a good laugh.

One time, when I was teaching, I was looking for something in my top desk drawer. I was standing, and had bent over to reach to the back of the drawer. Must have bumped the drawer, because it slammed shut–on my dangly necklace. Hoo boy. And I couldn’t get the drawer to open, had to ask for help. My students were enjoying my predicament.

Then there was the time I walked into my class room, dumped my bag, took off my coat, getting ready to go to staff meeting. I jumped about a mile when a deep voice coming from somewhere above me said, “Good morning, Mrs. Kreger!” This kid had climbed up to the top of the bookshelves, stretched out on his side, and waited for me to come into my room. Honestly, he scared me out of ten years’ growth. Laughing all the way.

I could continue, but that’s enough for now. I don’t always intend to be funny, but things just kind of happen to me, and it seems I have a reputation that I’m not sure I want 🙂

Aren’t you thankful for a sense of humor? Thankful that you can laugh at yourself just as quickly as you laugh at someone else? I’m thankful for laughter. It’s good for the soul and the body. I look forward to the day I hear God laughing! There will be great joy in heaven. I believe we will have endless reason to enjoy laughter.

Learn to be thankful for the small things in life. You’ll be a happier person.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Spring

I think it’s really here. It’s been peeking around the corner, withdrawing, peeking again. But now the flowering trees are doing their thing, lifting bouquets of glorious beauty up to the Creator. Daffodils are loaning us their delightful, happy yellow.

And soon, there will be tulips. I love tulips. The colors are so vibrant. They just make me smile.

Isn’t that just gorgeous! How I would love to be there during blooming season in Holland.

I really don’t have much else to say this morning. Sometimes the heart is just too full for words. But never for music!